Monday, 7 May 2018

Happiness everytime

India ranks 133rd among 156 countries in 2017, way below Pakistan (75th position), in the world happiness report. India lags behind almost all its neighbours except Afghanistan(145th). [China(86th), Bhutan(97th), Nepal(101st), Bangladesh(115th), and Sri Lanka (116th)]. Predictors of happiness in a society are: social connectedness, ability and opportunities to thrive, opportunities for growth, finding meaning and purpose in what we do, low crime rates and a healthy environment. Change is constant and people - after brief transitional period learn to adapt. Humans do have remarkable capacity to adapt and they usually do. In present times, chaos seems to have become order of things, but people have come to accept an enduring state of chaos as the new reality and are learning to adapt to it.
  • Happiness can change, and does change, according to the quality of the society in which people live.
  • Experience joy of friendship and community support.
  • The longer you live, the more likely you are to become happier.
  • We are happiest in our childhood and old age.
  • Happiness levels steadily drop during early adulthood bottoming out in mid-40's. By age 50, those levels are in upswing again.
  • Even as our happiness levels are on downward curve, we might, nevertheless, experience periods of great happiness.
  • Our sliding happiness curve is due to stress and life changes in 20s, 30s & 40s. Working long hours, getting married, raising children, caring for ageing parents, putting away money for future et al.
  • The youth's magical thinking that success in life is inevitable is replaced by the reality that things aren't always good. The realization is that good can from bad.
  • If you have friends or relatives whom you can confide in, then you are automatically happier than people who have no one to turn to for advice or companionship.
  • Social connections are good for us. Loneliness can kill. It is not the number of friends or social connections you have but the quality of your close relationship that matter.
  • People who or married or live with their partners tend to be happier than those who are unattached and lonely. It is the texture of the relationships that makes the difference.
  • Calling your spouse your best friend is another way of saying ' I've a got a pretty marriage'.
  • Regardless of the status of one's relationship, people who have one to count on are happier, because they are not lonely.
  • Most people prefer a good work-life balance above all else. Variety and learning new things are important, but not as important as work-life balance.
  • If your job is preventing you from giving time to your family or partner, or if you worry about work problems even when you are not working, or if you are too tired after work to enjoy other things, that has a massive effect on your well being. 
  • Stress is a major factor for unhappiness. Being content and at peace with our environment keeps negative emotions in check. A stressed unhappy person will be prone to psychosomatic conditions like anxiety, head aches, digestive issues or blood pressure fluctuations.
  • The feeling of despondency and not being active, contributing member of society can deplete happiness levels.
  • Staying active and eating healthy not only prevent lifestyle diseases but also boosts happiness.
  • The sooner we take decisions that help us be happier, the better it is. That includes scheduling a fixed bedtime and picking up hobby or sport to balance the demands of leading a competitive lifestyle. Factoring in fun and enjoyment is essential for  peace and harmony in life.
  • People who are able to feel a range of emotions, including negative ones, are happier than those who insist on feeling happy all the time.
  • To make happiness a mainstay in life, we  need to (i) adjust our attitude*, (ii) learn something new#, (iii) interact differently with your partner@ (iv) focus on what you have%, (v) express gratitude& and (vi) give back$.
          * you may not be able to control what happens to you, but you can control
             how you react.
          # exploring new experiences can boost happiness and enhance
             quality of your life.
         @ after years together, couples are not as kind to each other as they
              could be. Treat your partner like a friend, involving less taking for
              granted and more positivity.
         % live in the present with what you have, forgetting shadows of past and
             bad thoughts, and  the future has a way sorting itself out.
         & instead of just feeling gratitude, expressing thankfulness spreads
             goodwill and joy and we respond to our environment in a
             positive manner.
         $ by getting involved with a cause or an organisation you will create
            opportunities to make more meaningful connections with new people.

Source: Readers Digest India | May 2018 | P68-75

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